Bengaluru-based lifestyle-community-commerce platform Trell on Monday announced that it raised $11.4 million Series A round led by KTB Network.
Samsung Ventures, Ankur Nagpal (CEO of Teachable), Gokul Rajaram (Board Member, Pinterest, Square, DoorDash), and Vineet Buch (former Head of Google Play Store Development) also participated via Firebolt Ventures in the round, along with existing investors Sequoia’s Surge, Fosun RZ Capital, and WEH Ventures.
“Trell has shown incredible growth over the last few months and we believe it’s only the beginning of what will come in the future. We were especially impressed by how the team dealt with an unexpected user growth during the COVID-19-period. It’ll soon be a most prominent lifestyle social discovery platform in India and we’re happy to ride on a rocketship,” said Hyesung Kim, Venture Capitalist, KTB Network.
Trell was launched in August 2017 by IIT Bombay Alumni Arun Lodhi, Prashant Sachan, Pulkit Agrawal, and NITIE Alumnus Bimal Kartheek Rebba. It is a mobile application, where users come together to share three-minute vertical videos around their interests and passions in the categories like beauty, recipes, fashion, personal care, technology and gadgets, movies and TV reviews, and many more and connect with like-minded individuals in their native languages.
At present, the app has over 20 categories available in eight Indian languages. Trell monetises through social commerce where the interest-based/passion-based community of content creators (KOL’s) enable users to make well informed and suitable purchase decisions for better lifestyle choices.
With over 75 million downloads and 25 million monthly active users on its app, Trell has grown 27X in the last 12 months. Since the ban on Chinese apps, Trell claims to have witnessed 500 percent growth with more than 15 million creators on its platform receiving more than five billion monthly views and has been rapidly growing since then.
“We are glad to see the rapid growth and consumer love at Trell. Even today, over 500 million Indian language internet users are struggling with lifestyle inspiration and purchase decisions. With more regional key-opinion-leaders (KOLs) coming on Trell, our aim is to become the most relatable lifestyle community commerce platform for our users,” said Prashant.
The new round of investment will be used by the company to further expand and grow the fostering community, to enhance the platform’s personalisation and recommendation engine with advanced machine learning algorithms and AI, and add new features that will excite the users experience. To reinforce the same, Trell is in the process of hiring an energetic and creative team that empathises with their audiences.
Bimal added, “We take a lot of effort into grooming our creators in the Trell Creators Programme into subject matter experts, who we call key opinion leaders. With these funds, we will be investing in grooming 100,000 new opinion leaders across languages for India and provide 100+ million Indians the access to purpose-driven content at their fingertips in the coming years. ”
Trell counts prominent names like Rajan Anandan (Managing Director at Sequoia Capital), Aprameya Radhakrishna (Co-founder of Vocal and TaxiForSure), Ramakant Sharma (Co-founder of LivSpace), Nitin Gupta (Co-founder of PayUMoney), Anupam Mittal (Founder of Shaadi.com), Amit Lakhotia (Founder of Park+, ex-Tokopedia, Paytm), and Shanti Mohan (CEO of LetsVenture) in its existing list of angel investors.
The startup was also a part of the second cohort of Surge, Sequoia Capital India’s rapid-scale up programme. With this funding, the total funding raised by Trell comes to $16.95 million.